Settling characteristics of nonspherical porous sludge flocs with nonhomogeneous mass distribution.


Chair of Applied Mechanics, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Paul-Gordan-Str. 3, D-91052, Erlangen, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


The paper reports on the development of an advanced Lagrangian particle tracking model of sludge flocs that takes into account its nonspherical shape, the internal porosity and permeability, as well as the nonhomogenous mass distribution. The floc shapes, sizes and free settling velocities are determined based on the experimental measurement of settling sludge flocs originating from a wastewater treatment plant. Based on the floc shape characterization, a prolate axisymmetric ellipsoid is selected as the modelled sludge particle. In order to determine the main particle characteristics, e.g. the internal porosity, the density and the flow permeability, a Lagrangian particle tracking model is developed based on Brenner's drag model for a prolate axisymmetric ellipsoid and a buoyancy force model for a porous particle. The model is implemented for numerical simulations of the free settling process. The obtained floc characteristics are presented in the form of a two-part polynomial fitting curve, which can be used to model floc characteristics. The values of settling velocities of flocs computed by the model show very good agreement with experimental results. Futhermore, as the internal structure of a floc is seldom uniform, the nonhomogeneous mass distribution is considered, influencing the rotational and translational motions of the settling flocs. The nonhomogeneous mass distribution is introduced into the floc settling model. The parametric analyses of different barycentre offsets and shear rates are performed, and their influences on the free settling velocity are evaluated. The presented modelling approach can also be applied to flocculent settling of alum and other flocs in drinking water treatment plants. The developed Lagrangian model is suitable for use as a point source within the framework of Eulerian flow computations, and is solved as a two-phase flow model with a suitable Computational Fluid Dynamics code.


Floc settling velocity,Lagrangian particle tracking model,Non-homogenous porous floc,Prolate spheroidal floc,activated sludge,